Even Cavemen Hated Lines, Says This Supermarket's Ludicrous Throwback Ad

Rosapark time-travels for Monoprix

Standing in long lines at checkout? That's so prehistoric!

In the short film below, French grocery retailer Monoprix transports us to a desolate plain, thousands of years ago, as our grunting, hirsute ancestors queue up for the very first time. Predictably, this lice-ridden lot loathe the tedious experience.

As our story unfolds, one barbarous bonehead employs brutal tactics to cut in front of others, moving ever closer to his goal—a hunk of meat for dinner.

At one point, he sets a Cro-Magnon's hair on fire—a clever if sadistic application of what was, at the time, bleeding-edge technology. He even lures Pterodactyls to carry off those who stand in his way. (Yes, dinosaurs died out millions of years before humans appeared. But since this is the first ad to ever bend the truth, even just a little, we'll let it slide.)

Riled by his actions, the queuing cavemen ultimately rock the rude dude's world:

Created by Rosapark, the two-minute video promotes a Monoprix app that lets shoppers skip checkout by scanning products and paying with their smartphones before they leave the store. Director Antoine Bardou-Jacquet paints an epically grim Stone Age canvas, and the dark humor evolves naturally, driving home the brand message with the force of a sharpened stick. (Or is that shtick?)

"Cutting the line is part of human nature—certainly for the French, at least—and everyone's either done it or wanted to do it," agency co-founder Gilles Fichteberg tells Muse. "Because this is surely the world's oldest insight, we wanted to return to humanity's first queue. We've all got some of this caveman in us." 

The spot targets urbanites, "an audience that sometimes has a tendency to be a bit barbaric in this never-ending, fast-paced environment," Fichteberg says. "We're all in a hurry, and Monoprix is always creating services that make their lives easier." 

Rosapark effectively employed comedy for the client in last year's "Worst Song in the World" campaign. "You really have to create something with a twist, something that makes an impact, in order to grab their attention, and they respond well to humor," Fichteberg says.

Shooting in an abandoned Ukrainian quarry for this new work, the cast and crew faced conditions that were downright primitive. 

"It rained a lot, and the ground was completely swampy," Fichteberg recalls. "We only shot for two days, but it felt like two weeks. There were many extras, about 100, all made up and half-naked. And I can tell you, in Ukraine, it's better not to be half-naked outdoors in April." 

Making matters worse, stomach flu bedeviled the production, causing lengthy lines (irony!) at the available facilities. 

"People were dropping like flies," Fichteberg says. "They were vomiting one after the other. It started with crew members, then the makeup artist, the SFX manager, the agency's TV producer, myself, and so on. Only the directors, the DOPs and the main actor were somehow miraculously spared." 

CREDITS

Agency: Rosapark
Co-founders: Gilles Fichteberg, Jean-François Sacco, Jean-Patrick Chiquiar 
Creative Directors: Gilles Fichteberg, Jean-François Sacco
Art Director: Cerise Leclerc
Copywriter: Louise Mussot
Managing Director, Strategic Planning Director: Sacha Lacroix 
Associate Director: Quentin Labat
Account Director: Lucile Wissocq
Account Manager: Justine Ducher
Producer: Thomas Laurent
Strategic Planner: Sarah Herbain
Head of digital strategies: Jeanne Neuschwander
Social media managers: Calliste Garrabos & Charlotte Giraud
PR: Mélanie Colleou

Director: Antoine Bardou Jacquet - Partizan 
Production: PartizanProducer: Khalid Tahhar - Partizan
Production Director: Isabelle Labeylie - Partizan 
1st Assistant Director: Olivier Coulhon - Partizan 
DOP: Marc Gomez Del Moral - Partizan
Chief Decorator: Alexandre Vivet - Partizan 
Stylist: Elise Bouquet - PartizanMake-up: Annabelle Petit – Partizan
Production Executive: Production Family (Kiev) 
Post-Production Image: Mikros
Post-producers : Sébastien Gros, Jonathan Trebois - Mikros 
Editing : Sophie Reine - Mikros 
Sound : Schmooze
Sound Producers : Matthieu Sibony, Grégoire Galian - Schmooze 
Sound Engineer : Sylvain Rety - Schmooze

MONOPRIX
Monoprix Marketing and Innovation Director: Florence Chaotte 
Monoprix Brand Image Director: Nicolas Gobert
Monoprix Social Media Manager: Stéphanie Jallet

BLUE 449
CEO : Pascal Crifo
Deputy General Manager: Marion Haan 
Senior Business Manager: Florence Mary 
Head of Brand Activation: Fouad Hachani

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.